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Internal radiotherapy better than external for quality of life in endometrial cancer patients
Date:9/24/2007

Barcelona, Spain: Quality of life after treatment for endometrial cancer can be significantly improved by the use of vaginal brachytherapy, where radiotherapy is delivered internally using a vaginal cylinder, the European Cancer Conference (ECCO 14) heard today (Monday September 24). Dr. Remi Nout, from the clinical oncology department of the Leiden University Medical Centre, Leiden, The Netherlands, said that this quality of life benefit would be an important factor to take into account when balancing the risks and benefits of using vaginal brachytherapy or external beam pelvic radiotherapy after surgery.

Up till now we have known very little about the quality of life of women with endometrial cancer, he said, and how radiotherapy impacts on it. This is the first analysis of data from a randomised trial on the subject.

Dr. Nout and the PORTEC (post operative radiation therapy for endometrial cancer) team set out to investigate whether vaginal brachytherapy could be as effective as external beam radiotherapy in local control of endometrial cancer, but with fewer side effects and better quality of life. It is too early for us to know whether the two treatment methods are equally effective, he said, but in about a year from now we will be able to tell. When there is little or no difference in effectiveness, we would definitely suggest that vaginal brachytherapy provides the optimal treatment for these patients, because the quality of life benefit is significant.

This the second study that the PORTEC team has undertaken in the field. PORTEC-1 showed that external beam pelvic radiotherapy significantly reduced the rate of local recurrence, but did not improve patient survival; 26 percent of patients showed radiotherapy side effects. Impact of radiotherapy on quality of life, was not evaluated at that time, said Dr. Nout, but as a result of the trial, the indications for post-operative radiotherapy were reduced to those patients who showed
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Contact: Mary Rice
mary@mrcommunication.org
Federation of European Cancer Societies
Source:Eurekalert

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